Testing your app

Testing sending mail

Django’s documentation covers the basics of testing email sending in Django. Everything in their examples will work with projects using Anymail.

Django’s test runner makes sure your test cases don’t actually send email, by loading a dummy “locmem” EmailBackend that accumulates messages in memory rather than sending them. You may not need anything more complicated for verifying your app.

Anymail also includes its own “test” EmailBackend. This is intended primarily for Anymail’s internal testing, but you may find it useful for some of your test cases, too:

  • Like Django’s locmem EmailBackend, Anymail’s test EmailBackend collects sent messages in django.core.mail.outbox. Django clears the outbox automatically between test cases.

  • Unlike the locmem backend, Anymail’s test backend processes the messages as though they would be sent by a generic ESP. This means every sent EmailMessage will end up with an anymail_status attribute after sending, and some common problems like malformed addresses may be detected. (But no ESP-specific checks are run.)

  • Anymail’s test backend also adds an anymail_test_params attribute to each EmailMessage as it sends it. This is a dict of the actual params that would be used to send the message, including both Anymail-specific attributes from the EmailMessage and options that would come from Anymail settings defaults.

Here’s an example:

from django.core import mail
from django.test import TestCase
from django.test.utils import override_settings

class SignupTestCase(TestCase):
    # Assume our app has a signup view that accepts an email address...
    def test_sends_confirmation_email(self):
        self.client.post("/account/signup/", {"email": "[email protected]"})

        # Test that one message was sent:
        self.assertEqual(len(mail.outbox), 1)

        # Verify attributes of the EmailMessage that was sent:
        self.assertEqual(mail.outbox[0].to, ["[email protected]"])
        self.assertEqual(mail.outbox[0].tags, ["confirmation"])  # an Anymail custom attr

        # Or verify the Anymail params, including any merged settings defaults:

Note that django.core.mail.outbox is an “outbox,” not an attempt to represent end users’ inboxes. When using Django’s default locmem EmailBackend, each outbox item represents a single call to an SMTP server. With Anymail’s test EmailBackend, each outbox item represents a single call to an ESP’s send API. (Anymail does not try to simulate how an ESP might further process the message for that API call: Anymail can’t render ESP stored templates, and it keeps a batch send message as a single outbox item, representing the single ESP API call that will send multiple messages. You can check outbox[n].anymail_test_params['is_batch_send'] to see if a message would fall under Anymail’s batch send logic.)

Testing tracking webhooks

If you are using Anymail’s event tracking webhooks, you’ll likely want to test your signal receiver code that processes those events.

One easy approach is to create a simulated AnymailTrackingEvent in your test case, then call anymail.signals.tracking.send() to deliver it to your receiver function(s). Here’s an example:

from anymail.signals import AnymailTrackingEvent, tracking
from django.test import TestCase

class EmailTrackingTests(TestCase):
    def test_delivered_event(self):
        # Build an AnymailTrackingEvent with event_type (required)
        # and any other attributes your receiver cares about. E.g.:
        event = AnymailTrackingEvent(
            recipient="[email protected]",

        # Invoke all registered Anymail tracking signal receivers:
        tracking.send(sender=object(), event=event, esp_name="TestESP")

        # Verify expected behavior of your receiver. What to test here
        # depends on how your code handles the tracking events. E.g., if
        # you create a Django model to store the event, you might check:
        from myapp.models import MyTrackingModel
            email="[email protected]", event="delivered",

    def test_bounced_event(self):
        # ... as above, but with `event_type="bounced"`
        # etc.

This example uses Django’s Signal.send, so the test also verifies your receiver was registered properly, and it will call multiple receiver functions if your code uses them.

Your test cases could instead import your tracking receiver function and call it directly with the simulated event data. (Either approach is effective, and which to use is largely a matter of personal taste.)

Testing receiving mail

If your project handles receiving inbound mail, you can test that with an approach similar to the one used for event tracking webhooks above.

First build a simulated AnymailInboundEvent containing a simulated AnymailInboundMessage. Then dispatch to your inbound receiver function(s) with anymail.signals.inbound.send(). Like this:

from anymail.inbound import AnymailInboundMessage
from anymail.signals import AnymailInboundEvent, inbound
from django.test import TestCase

class EmailReceivingTests(TestCase):
    def test_inbound_event(self):
        # Build a simple AnymailInboundMessage and AnymailInboundEvent
        # (see tips for more complex messages after the example):
        message = AnymailInboundMessage.construct(
            from_email="[email protected]", to="[email protected]",
            subject="subject", text="text body", html="html body")
        event = AnymailInboundEvent(message=message)

        # Invoke all registered Anymail inbound signal receivers:
        inbound.send(sender=object(), event=event, esp_name="TestESP")

        # Verify expected behavior of your receiver. What to test here
        # depends on how your code handles the inbound message. E.g., if
        # you create a user comment from the message, you might check:
        from myapp.models import MyCommentModel
        comment = MyCommentModel.objects.get(poster="[email protected]")
        self.assertEqual(comment.text, "text body")

For examples of various ways to build an AnymailInboundMessage, set headers, add attachments, etc., see test_inbound.py in Anymail’s tests. In particular, you may find AnymailInboundMessage.parse_raw_mime(str) or AnymailInboundMessage.parse_raw_mime_file(fp) useful for loading complex, real-world email messages into test cases.